UC Regents cancel meeting after receiving threats of violence

A confrontation last week between UC police and Occupy Cal protesters attempting to set up an encampment on the Berkeley campus strained relations between students and UC authorities. (AP file photo)A confrontation last week between UC police and Occupy Cal protesters attempting to set up an encampment on the Berkeley campus strained relations between students and UC authorities. (AP file photo)

Citing threats of violence, the University of California regents have postponed a meeting set for Wednesday and Thursday at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus.

Students and employees had planned to rally Wednesday morning against tuition hikes and budget cuts.

But Board of Regents Chairwoman Sherry Lansing, Vice Chairman Bruce Varner and university President Mark Yudof said they canceled the meeting after UC law enforcement officials learned that “rogue elements intent on violence and confrontation with UC public safety officers were planning to attach themselves to peaceful demonstrations.”

UC Berkeley grad student Charlie Eaton expressed skepticism about the threats.

“It’s telling that the regents, many of whom are the 1 percent, don’t want to have a conversation with students, teachers and community members,” he said.

Eaton, who is an organizer with ReFund California, a coalition of labor, student and community groups affiliated with  Occupy Wall Street, said several thousand people were still expected to travel to The City on Wednesday from across California. They still plan to rally in the Financial District.

“All of us have had our public education system defunded by Wall Street, those who aren’t paying their fair share,” he said.

Student regent Alfredo Mireles Jr. said that he understood his fellow regents’ caution, but disagreed with their decision.

“If you take someone who’s a graduating senior this year, they’ve only been here four years and they’ve seen their tuition go up $5,000 in that time,” Mireles said. “They have a completely legitimate reason to come out and protest.”

At their September meeting, the regents discussed raising tuition as much as 16 percent, but that hike was not on the agenda this month. Rather, the regents planned to get updates from UC staff about the possibility of private fundraising that they said could stave off tuition increases.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

Rising tuitions prompt student anger

UC students have seen annual systemwide tuition soar over the past few years, with the potential for more tuition hikes if funding shortages continue.

2008-09 — $7,126
2009-10 — $8,373
2010-11 — $10,302
2011-12 — $12,192
2012-13* — $14,100

*Maximum proposed increase
Source: University of California

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